About sixty percent of U.S. adults believe that it is acceptable for law enforcement to use facial recognition to assess security threats in public spaces, according to the Pew Research Center
. Facial recognition uses photos or videos to distinguish different facial features, like the eyes, noses, and mouths, of different people and matches those features with databases that house similar information to accurately identify people or expressions.
Despite a high level of acceptance for using biometric tracking tools for law enforcement, the American public remains largely skeptical of advertisers and employers adopting these tools. Over half of U.S. adults find it unacceptable for advertisers to track people’s response to ad displays using biometric technology
. Similarly, about four in ten respondents do not believe that companies should be able to track employee attendance using this technology.
These views are informed by rock-bottom trust in tech
and advertising companies. The numerous scandals among some of the biggest names in tech and advertising have sowed distrust in how those companies use and protect personal data. Aaron Smith, the director of data labs at Pew, attributes the high level of acceptance for law enforcement using this technology to the historically high level of trust law enforcement has among the U.S. public.